Apple has reportedly purchased Faceshift, a facial recognition technology company that did some special effects work on Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Word on the street says Apple has confirmed the purchase, but so far all we really have is the usual noncommittal and vague statement from the company.
Apple may be working on a 21st Century Holodeck
When asked to confirm the Faceshift purchase, Apple replied with, "Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans."
That's generally accepted as Apple-speak for "yes, we bought that company," although it isn't the same as an actual confirmation. According to TechCrunch, some of Faceshift's Europe staff are now on Apple's payroll, which helps back up the purchase report.
Facial recognition tech could be useful for Apple assuming the company is looking to create a platform where users need avatars that accurately represent our expressions. The company could be looking to add facial recognition as a form of security, too, just as it has done with our fingerprints and Touch ID.
Apple could also have plans for augmented reality or virtual reality projects, and Faceshift might be a part of that. The company bought the motion tracking company PrimeSense in 2013, and the augmented reality firm Metaio in 2015. Apple also hired Microsoft's former HoloLens audio hardware engineer Nick Thompson earlier this year.
Put all those pieces together, and Apple could have some pretty exciting augmented reality plans. That could include gaming, but knowing Apple they're looking at more and it wouldn't be surprising to see the technology linked into Apple TV at some point.
Of course, Apple is maintaining radio silence so we don't know exactly what's in store for the technology it acquired from PrimeSense, Metaio, and now Faceshift. Whatever it is, odds are it'll be cool.